Meet the New Boss Watch: Louise Slaughter edition

By Moe Lane Posted in Comments (0) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Meet Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY), new chair of the House Rules panel. Rep. Slaughter hates lobbyists, lobbying and all that they stand for. We've already seen some pretty good sound bites from her, and probably some more.

Which makes it odd that a guy from Timmons & Company is now the Rules Panel's new staff director.

Read on.

The Hill article [Sorry: I don't know why the link wasn't there to begin with] is mostly about three aides from the Rules panel going elsewhere - which on first look doesn't seem related to the next bit - but here's the bit about Dan Turton (the ex-lobbyist - and, actually, ex-Congressional aide to Rep. Gephardt*) that caught my eye:

Turton’s hiring surprised those on and off Capitol Hill, considering Slaughter’s vocal disdain for the lobbying profession and the money lobbyists infuse into the political process.

“Watching Washington be taken over by these little sleaze merchants is not only expensive and repulsive — it is destroying America, destroying any sense we ever had that we’re a nation, not 298 million individuals cheating to get ahead,” she said last year on the floor.

Turton is not an average Democratic lobbyist. His wide-ranging client portfolio includes many clients normally politically aligned with Republicans.

A list of companies may be found here. And, oh my, yes, many of them would be thrilled to discover a sympathetic soul in the Rules panel infrastructure. The article goes on to point out:

In late September, Turton sent out an e-mail encouraging his Democratic brethren on K Street to write checks to Democrats because time was running out to prove Democratic fealty before the election.

“For any Democrats downtown that have not gotten on the books with the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee,] this is the last event to do so before Democrats regain the Majority,” the e-mail read.

I know what some of you are asking: so what? What's 'so what' is that there's been a break between Democratic rhetoric and reality. Rhetoric stated that the folks on K Street were anathema, the outlaws of human kind, to be dealt with as wolves are. Reality is that the folks on K Street are getting hired as staffers, that staffers are going to K Street and that phone calls in both directions are taking place. You cannot reconcile the one with the other. And it's starting to look like rhetoric is going to be completely pushed to the side (Via Captain Ed):

Balking on Bundling

DISTURBING, though not particularly surprising, rumblings are emanating from the House of Representatives to the effect that some Democrats are balking at requiring lobbyists to disclose the campaign contributions they arrange or collect for lawmakers.

This important requirement was included in the lobbying and ethics package that recently passed the Senate; Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Martin T. Meehan (D-Mass.) have introduced the same measure in the House and want to see it included in the lobbying legislation that the House plans to take up in the next few months. A similar provision was overwhelmingly approved by the House Judiciary Committee last year but unceremoniously disappeared from the final version of the legislation, which never became law in any event.

The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reported last week that some Democratic House members, egged on by K Street lobbyists, are agitating to have the provision removed. That can't be allowed to happen. Mr. Van Hollen, who's responsible for helping to raise big money from K Street and elsewhere as the new head of the House Democrats' campaign arm, nonetheless understands that providing accurate information about the real influence of lobbyists is a critical piece of reform.

Rep. Slaughter, when asked about her hiring choice, responded by saying "I like to say I saved him from lobbying". Aside from demonstrating a notable lack of knowledge with regard to to the Faustus legend, this is a statement that should have warning bells going off inside reformist Democrats' heads. Actually, strike the 'aside'; re-reading the Marlowe play would have been a really, really good idea for the Congresswoman. Particularly the bits about hubris; I'm detecting just a whiff of Pride, there.

And we all know where Pride goeth.

Moe Lane

[Since lightly edited.]

*I sometimes suspect that the District keeps incest on the books as a crime because its political establishment doesn't like the competition.

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